I’ve seen several articles over the past few months about online reputations, and why it is important for you to always be aware of how you are represented on the web. Michele Martin over at The Bamboo Project Blog has a great post titled With Web 2.0, You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide: Tools and Resources for Managing Your Online Reputation. The main idea is that you should be increasingly more aware of how you represent your self, both personally and professionally, on the web. It’s becoming easier and easier for people and companies to track down every last thing you’ve done; anonymity is becoming a thing of the past.
I especially wanted to call attention to Michele’s post because she links to some excellent resources toward the bottom of the page, and this is a great place to catch up on the subject if you’re not familiar with it.
So why is this important to us in the field of eLearning / learning and technology? I see two main reasons:
First, it’s important for you to build-up and monitor your own online reputation, from a professional development standpoint. You know, double-check that you don’t have too many crazy party pictures on Flickr. It’ll help your credibility and your career down the line. And participate more with professionals in your industry. Blogging has helped me tremendously; it is a huge part of my online reputation.
Second, we are in the field of professional development. We look for ways to help people learn. We help them build their knowledge and increase their understanding. I think it’s helpful to make people aware of how important their online reputation has become and explain why it is important. You can also use this time to encourage ways they can build their reputations online. For example, you may recommend they participate more with their industry (ex. professional societies), write articles, blog, etc. As noted in Michele’s post, with your online reputation, "You have to be on top of your game because if you aren’t, then people will know it. You have to keep learning, because if you don’t, your outdated skills will show."
(And one last time – make sure you check out Michele’s post!)
B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.